“The Veldt" is a dystopian story by Ray Bradbury. Even though the story is only a few pages long and appears relatively simple, it contains many concepts that should be thought about, as well as consequences of total reliance on technologies.
In this story, people got houses that did everything for them, such as bathing them, feeding them, rocking them to sleep, etc. This was one of the problems that led to the demise of Mr. and Mrs. Hadley. What surprised me was that it wasn’t the artificial technology itself that directly spelled doom -- it was the lasting effect of the artificial technology. All those machines had eliminated any essence of love from child to parent. The children, Peter and Wendy, had no scruples about locking their mom and dad in an African savanna. Their love was not for their parents-it was for the house and the machinery. Since the house was doing everything that a parent should do, the kids developed love toward the house. Their parents were just the people that owned the house.
The second problem that led to the resolution was actually Mr. and Mrs. Hadley’s fault. Many parents today make the same mistake: they spoil their children rotten. Peter and Wendy had gotten so used to their way of living, so it was terrible for them to lose any of it. When Mr. Hadley rejected their idea of going to New York, it was a huge blow for the kids. If Mr. and Mrs. Hadley hadn’t gotten the kids everything they wanted in the past, especially the nursery, they might not have ended up the way they did in the end.
I was really shocked by the ending. I never thought that children such as Peter and Wendy could just leave their parents in an African savanna. From the way the author described the resolution, it seemed that Mr. and Mrs. Hadley were eaten by the lions. I’m not sure how that would actually work, since the lions were merely in the walls of the nursery. The couple also heard their own screams coming from the nursery before, so I guess the children were expressing anger at their parents in a very, very despicable way. To them, it was little different to kill a virtual being or a real human being, although there is a HUGE difference.
I think the author is addressing very valid problems here, in the case that technology does end up doing all of this for us. Kids would not possess the capability to love their parents anymore, since they don’t see their parents doing anything for them, and vice versa. Furthermore, they get spoiled rotten, with no hardships at all. I really hope our world does not end up like this. I like the time and experience being with my parents, than just being with cold- faced technologies, no matter how advanced.
The Veldt by Ray Bradbury. Groundwood Books, 1982. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!
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